March 29, 2010

Manager's Special Doughnuts

I like doughnuts.

So much so, I spell the word doughnuts, instead of donuts. Could also be that donuts reads like do-nuts. Which has this homoerotic quality to it that dosn't appeal to me. If it appeals to you, fine. Do nuts. Go nuts with yer do nuts.

One of my favoritest things is a doughnut and a great cup of coffee. There is virtually nothing, nothing, that can keep me from enjoying a fresh doughnut and a fresh, hot cup of joe on a cool morning. Outside with a great view if I am really lucky.

Thanks to vast amounts of self control, I look to the heavens and thank ? for giving me the willpower to resist this dreamy combination. Mostly.

That said, manager's special baked goods are what, like one or two days old and half price or whatever. There's a guy in the office and, bless him, has gotten into almost a habit of bringing in a box of the manager's specials every other day.

I am not complaining.

Honestly. It's a nice gesture and some of the folks here in the outlands do or don't seem to mind and gulp down one or two of the suckers. I'll admit, I partook once. Once. And it sucked. My. Ass.

Not only was the doughnut kinda firm and vurrry dry, it led to a great deal of disappointment in myself. Through the cellophane window the pastries were very appealing. Once in hand, they were less appealing as food and more as hockey pucks or weapons. So I have to convince my doughnut-wanting brain that these doughnuts will not do for me all of the wonderful, pleasurable things a a fresh doughnut will do. And it's a bitch convincing myself.

While I am not dieting per se, I watch what I eat, and that is more than just viewing my loaded hand as it leaves the plate and carries food to my gaping mouth. I no longer have the metabolism of a teenager, and it took too long to lose the 10 sympathy pounds I slapped on when Wifey was pregnant with Smarty Pants.

Mostly I try and do a couple of things:

- I eat when I am hungry. Which means a LOT of snacking on fruit, vegetables, nuts and protein shakes. It keeps the metabolism fire at least smoldering.
- I look at what I eat and determine if it is worth the calories. Let me explain. If there is a fresh, blueberry doughnut and some coffee in front of me, I'm not going to deny myself that. Unless it is every day then get a fucking hold of myself... Conversely, a store-bought chocolate cake can be avoided. Sure, it's good, but it doesn't pump my nads enough to feel good about eating it afterwards.
- Moderation. I love McDonalds fries. But that shit makes you want more and more. It's like sex. But makes you fat and then kills you. So maybe it's like sex with a black widow spider. I've just gotten into the habit of ratcheting back on the size of the fries and sodas. I don't deny, I moderate.
- I drink a LOT of water. Usually with a mineral supplement to keep my electrolytes up.
- And I guess I exercise. A little. Really. I don't kill myself training. But I probably do more than most people.

So what is the point of all this? Right now I weigh nearly what I did ten years ago. I feel good. Admittedly, I feel hungry often. It's just the small, healthy meals/fiery metabolism thing. But it's actually good because hunger is such a basic, consuming need that it keeps my mind on track. I focus better. Instead of going in a million different directions, I focus on hunger and a couple of other things. That's it.

Oh, I guess the real point here is this. Buy fresh doughnuts half as often as the manager's specials. It will cost you the same and I'd feel good about consuming one, just one of those circular little bastards.

March 22, 2010

Moab .5

Because I KNOW you are just shitting yourselves wanting to know how the Moab Half Marathon went for me last Saturday, here's a quick rundown.

I was 27 seconds slower than last year. So much for the magical, cumulative effects of training.

But Wifey was 14 minutes faster than last year. That is great.

Once again we stayed in style and unmatched comfort with great friends. We ate wonderful food and laughed out loud. I might have enjoyed a few too many gintonics, too. "Hey girlfriends! Moab Marathon! No boys! You'll do great sweetie!"

The start was cold, again, they all are. But this one was coldest, yet. Still, the skies were as blue as they get with nary a cloud to be found.

If there is a bright side to my time to be spotted, it's that I actually followed my pacing strategy of 145-150 bpm, with the option to go as high as 155 or longer on steeper climbs, until I got to the bridge and then would uncork and run as fast as I could, which was right at my threshold of about 170. My new feed plan worked well also. A banana and some pbh on wheat bread pre race, followed be gel as needed. I ate four gels. I needed them. I had zero stomach issues before or after. Could have been the slower pace, or it could have just been that I found something that will work for me.

Now, I'd planned on comparing the data compiled with my Garmin 305 to last years' race. However, the little piece of shit didn't do any mapping so all I have is time, pace, and average and max heart rate to go off of. I'm pissed. The ability to compare data is one of the reasons I bought the damn thing. Rather than chuck the thing against the wall, I'll compare what I have.
- avg. pace: 8:34 min/mile
- avg. speed: 7 mph
- max speed 2009: 14.1 mph
2010: 10.0 mph
- avg. heart rate 2009: 156 bpm
2010: 153 bpm
- max heart rate 2009: 177 bpm
2010: 171 bpm

Clearly I worked less this year. Had I ran at the frantic pace that I ran last year, I likely would have bettered my time. That is why I wanted the mapping data, I could have compared the heart rate graphs between years. I know this years' graph would not have resembled quite the sawtooth of 2009.

But enough of that. I also had a great ride up Amasa Back, which I hadn't ridden in years.

And now it is time to get after training again. The Ogden Half is coming up, as is the mtb race season and maybe a triathlon. Who knows?

March 18, 2010

It's that time...Again.

Welcome back spring. I've missed you. Mostly your sun-bathed warmth. I'd also like to take a moment to thank George Bush - The younger one - for moving daylight savings from May to March and allowing me to actually do something after work without the use of a headlamp.

Saturday will mark the official start of my 2010 race season also. Wifey and I are soon on our way to Moab for the Canyonlands Half Marathon. I'll admit I am not as prepared as I'd like to be, not even as prepared as I was last year. The whole upper and lower respiratory infection for three weeks in February thing sorta hit my training at a crucial time. But I am optimistic I can make it under two hours, heck that's only a 9 minute/mile average. Because my training schedule was dealt a blow, I've also decided to train the last two weeks as usual, rather than taper, and just use the half as additional training for events that may crop up later in the year. I am also going to play with pre race nutrition a little bit. I am going to minimize fiber and gluten intake - and even fluid intake a little - in an effort to avoid the digestive problems I had last year at the Ogden Half. I'm also having some shin and knee issues this year...

So the morning should go like this. Wake up about 6. Have some coffee, electrolyte water and a light, low gluten and fiber breakfast with a calorie count I haven't decided upon. Leave about 7:45 for the buses and take one of the last buses to the start. Start at 10. Run at a comfortable pace, keeping the heart rate in the upper aerobic zone - about 140-145 bpm - at least until I exit the Canyon. Hopefully that heart rate zone will coincide with at least a 9 min/mile pace. Then, if I am feeling randy, I'll step it up into the finish, hopefully under 2 hours.

I guess I am maturing. I am starting to think more about pacing and nutrition more than ever before. In the past, I've been careful to get plenty of calories and hydration before the race, but I think I might have overdone it, and had the wrong kinds of foods, leading to bodily issues. My pacing has also been poor. Run just within the limits as long as I can and then suffer like a dog the last couple of miles. I am hoping a calmer start and the right nutrition will not only lead to a time I am happy with, but also to no digestive issues during or after the run.

Because there will be good food and beer to be enjoyed. And a bike ride on the day after. Here's to 2010 and personal success for all three of you, as well!

March 2, 2010

Timing is Everything

Some days I just don't like swimming. Unfortunately, since I really like triathlon, this is most days. While I wouldn't say I suck at swimming, I would say I am not great at it.

Swimming is wholly different from cycling and running. With cycling and running you basically get out there and do it and get faster. You can mess with bike fit and running stride to generate more power and become more efficient, but nothing like swimming. Swimming is nearly opposite. You can swim lap after lap, day after day, and get only marginally better. However, when you swim mindfully and focus on drills and form, you will see improvement. Unfortunately, any time you want to make a change you have to unlearn. And that, is difficult.

The other day I swam about 3/4 of a mile in a near empty pool. It was late Saturday morning and sunlight was flooding into the pool. There was only one other soul in the water. For once it was a lady about my age who weighed less than 200 pounds and was moderately attractive. Even though I struggled with poor early season form and fitness, I had a good swim. For a cool down I did some 50s, focusing on bilateral (both sides) breathing. During these closing sets I noticed how much easier it seemed to breathe on both sides and I was losing less momentum when breathing, meaning I had less drag, meaning I was going faster. It was a breakthrough of sorts. And it all had to do with timing. I realized that I was rushing my breathing, especially on the left (non dominant) side. Makes sense, I like air. Unfortunately, rushing slows me down.

This morning I was back at the pool to work on my timing. And it was off. And on. And off. And the pool was mighty crowded. I was flanked, and sharing a lane with two large displacers of water and the wakes they created made it difficult to concentrate on correcting my timing, an ingrained habit that I now have to break so I can improve. It was race conditions today with wave splashing all around. So I got discouraged and left early.

Some workouts I just don't have the drive to push through. Mentally or physically it ain't there. That is the beauty of cycling or running outdoors. You suck but you are outside, and even if you get tired you still have to make it back. Lifting or dreadmilling or riding the trainer or swimming in a pool are easy to walk away from. Even in a lake, if you are off, I can hug the shore and the thrill keeps me going.

Maybe tomorrow, or Thursday, will be better. Vikingman half in Idaho is on my radar...